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discovery October - November 2016

Homecoming SIWA Bazaar: 40 Years Later Home Cooking from Central Asia A Voice for Korean-American Adoptees A Haven for the Disadvantaged S E O U L I N T E R N AT I O N A L W O M E N ' S A S S O C I AT I O N Enhancing lives through Friendship, Enrichment and Charity.




President’s Message: Homecoming


By the American definition, homecoming is “the tradition of welcoming back students of a school.” The tradition is usually followed by universities and high schools with activities such as sports, cultural events and parades. This fall, my two children will return for a weekend to their alma mater for such celebration where a football game against an archrival will be the key event. Homecoming in essence brings people and communities together. SIWA has a long tradition of homecoming. SIWA and the Diplomatic Community Bazaar, held every fall, is the ultimate homecoming that will bring a community of people from many different walks of life to “share culture, share love, and share life.” Coming up on its 54th year, the largest international fundraising event in Seoul celebrates the people and communities that collaborate to achieve a common goal; to alleviate some of the pain and suffering for the marginalized people in Korea and make a lasting impact that will change the social condition. In 1982, then-SIWA Welfare Chair Mrs. Van der Berger visited the Missionaries of Charity with Mother Teresa while she was in Korea. That tradition and spirit of remembering our afflicted continue some 34 years later as SIWA members prepare for the Bazaar. Mother Teresa was canonized on Sept. 4, 2016. I am not Catholic, therefore, my comprehension is very limited to the status given to her posthumously. However, I recognize the work she accomplished and the lives she affected through selfless service. Regardless to faith, I know there is a little bit of Mother Teresa in all of us, and it is a great homecoming. - Anne Choe SIWA President

1982 마더 테레사, 국제 부인회 회원들과 수녀회의 복지 시설을 방문

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October / November 2016 Discovery

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Editor's Message

Monica Williams, Discovery Editor

October / November 2016 Discovery

M e e t


I’ve been fortunate to live and work in a number of world-class cities – Boston, New York, Quito, Washington, D.C.—but I’m so glad to call Seoul home. Returning to Korea in June was a homecoming of sorts for me. In 2013, I taught English in the government middle schools in Cheongyang, South Korea, a small town known for growing gochu chili peppers. On my last day of class, one of my students played “Come Back Home” by Korean girl group 2NE1 while my temperamental teenage students pretended to be sad to see me go. (It’s OK. To bond with my teens, I pretended to love K-pop.) I bawled. Within a short time, that small town had become a second home. I never envisioned that I’d return to Korea for any reason but I’m glad to be back. Fellow U.S. journalist and Korean-American adoptee Kaomi Goetz moved to Seoul around the same time I did. It’s a homecoming of sorts for her, as well, as she was born in the country and left as an infant adoptee. She’s back this time as a Fulbright fellow, recording the tales of other Korean-American adoptees who repatriate back to Korea in a podcast called Adapted. You can read more about her project inside. You’ll also learn some of the history of SIWA’s bazaar, which is a must for anyone who makes her home in Seoul; discover how some Korean charities are creating a home away from home for the needy; and read about our important partnership with the Estée Lauder Companies and the Korean Cancer Society. Whether Seoul has been your home for 30 days or 30 years, I hope your time here is enjoyable. Make yourself at home by getting involved in SIWA and supporting the work we do in the community. You won’t regret it.

S I W A ' S

N e w

Alexa Dodson,

Jana Hennig,

Gabrielle Kim,

Digital Media Producer

Tour Coordinator

SIWA & Diplomatic Bazaar Manager

Monica Williams, Discovery Editor

Alexa was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the University of Southern California and went on to work for several Hollywood-based studios in television production and international film distribution. She is new to Seoul and new to SIWA but is very excited to get involved and serve as the Digital Media Producer. In her spare time, Alexa is also an artist and designer specializing in watercolor illustration.

Jana arrived in Seoul with her family in August 2015. They previously lived in Regensburg, London and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Jana is curious about new adventures and loves to explore Asia and meet new people. She volunteered for SIWA immediately upon arrival in Seoul and served as logistics coordinator for the 2015 Bazaar. Jana's first SIWA tour, "Korean Skin Care for Beginners" on Sept. 6, sold out so be sure to pay attention to the SIWA calendar for a second edition to follow soon.

Gabrielle was born in Busan, South Korea. She studied architecture in Paris and has worked as a designer for Mooyoung, an architec tural firm and as a project manager on Parc 1, a multipurpose complex in Yeouido, for Jones Lang Lasalle. She now owns her own business creating space branding as director of real estate development project in Gyeonggi-do. Among her major projects include Korea Traditional School restaurants in Ulsan, Chadwick International School in Songdo, Philip Morris Korea in Yeouido, and Resort Complex in Henan, China. She is fluent in Korean, French and English.

Monica is a U.S. citizen who joined SIWA in 2016 as Editor of Discovery. A lifelong journalist, she currently is Business Editor of the Korea JoongAng Daily. She’s also worked for The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and The Detroit News in the states and taught English in the government middle schools in Cheongyang, Chungnam province, South Korea. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, patronizing the performing arts and eating japchae.

L e a d e r s

Theresa Penzel,

Linda Lee,

Instagram Manager


Theresa is from Germany and has been a SIWA member since the beginning of 2016. In Germany, she worked as an engineer but when she came to Seoul, she started to volunteer on various projects. She’s interested in marketing and social media, so she was excited to fill our SIWA Instagram role. Her other hobbies are photography and traveling.

Linda spent years working in Los Angeles and New York museums, cultural centers and a charitable foundation before relocating to Seoul, where she became a member of SIWA in 2013. Formerly the leader of Moms and Tots, Linda has been on the Treasury Team since 2014. When she is not helping at a SIWA event, Linda and her boys can be found playing at local parks and on the riverside bike paths.

SIWA Executive Board 2016 / President Anne Choe - / Vice President, Brand Communications Robin Carney - Vice President, Fundraising Amy Lee - / Vice President, Operations Mhyla Borkowski - / Board Administrator Ariane Amiot - / Treasurer Sandhya Ramabadran - / Standing Committees / Discovery Monica Williams - / Hospitality Sonali Rao - / Newcomers Michelle Morrison - newcomers@ / Public Relations (Vacant) - / Special Events Justesse Gomis - / Sponsorship (Vacant) - / Tours & Interest Groups Greta Tonnon - / Welfare Neeti Virmani - / Bazaar Justesse Gomis - / Blog Neeti Virmani - / Content Manager Kathryn Wallace - / Diplomatic Liaison Raheela Khan - / Gala ( Vacant) - / Graphic Design Irene Nuutila - / Invitations Vicki Frame, Theresa Kang - / Marketing Kyoko Kawaguchi - / Membership Constanze Britz - membership@ / Newsletter Robin Carney - / Social Media Jessica Raeside - / Website Manager (Vacant)


Contents SIWA News 3 President’s Message 4 New SIWA leaders 7 SIWA supports breast cancer awareness


The Bazaar 8 The history of SIWA’s Bazaar 9 SIWA seeks volunteers for Bazaar



10 Korean adoption from the adoptees’ perspective 11 What it Means to be a Seoul Sister 12 Our Photo Club captures “Home” 14 Weekend Getaway: Gangwha Island 16 A second home for Busan’s needy 18 A Haven for the Marginalized 20 Home cooking from Central Asia 26 Korean lesson 27 How to cope with reverse culture shock

SIWA Activities 22 Tours & Interest Groups

22 On the Cover Cover Photo: Photo courtesy of Sook Hee Kim / Editorial Team Robin Carney, Greta Tonnon, Monica Williams Contributors Anne Choe, Alexis Dodson, Emma Duke, Doria Garms-Sotelo, Justesse, Gomis, Maverick Icon, Sook Hee Kim, Monica Park, Sandhya Ramabadran, Galiya Sharapova, Courtney Snede, Neeti Virmani Graphic Designer Sunwoo Kim Published by 10 Magazine / Advertising Coordinator Kyoko Kawaguchi Discovery Photo Files All photos used by Discovery magazine, unless otherwise stated, have been provided by SIWA vendors or members and are the property of SIWA. Photographers who donate photos for SIWA’s use retain the rights to their photos. Contributions Welcomed! Discovery is published bi-monthly (six issues per year) by SIWA, with articles and content written by our members and associations. It is distributed exclusively for SIWA members. All opinions expressed in these articles are those of the respective authors and may not reflect the official position of SIWA. All rights reserved SIWA 2016. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent of SIWA.

October / November 2016 Discovery

“I took this picture at Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, a famous place for its colorful houses and murals. I’m nostalgic for jangdokdae because my family used to have big pots to ferment and store sauces made by Mom.” -- SIWA member Sook Hee Kim

For submissions and questions, email or go to Upcoming deadlines for contributions November 1 (Fashion) & January 1 (Education)



October / November 2016 Discovery

By Robin Carney

Cancer Awareness


Join SIWA in Breast SIWA is commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. This disease, which will affect one in eight women in her lifetime, directly impacts our members and their families, and SIWA would like to recognize the importance of awareness, prevention, treatment and ultimately cures for breast cancer. With the support of the Estée Lauder Companies, SIWA invited the preeminent breast cancer specialist Dr. Noh, President of the Korean Cancer Society, to address our members at the October Coffee Morning. Dr. Noh planned to present an overview of the state of breast cancer in Korea, recent breakthroughs in treatment of the disease and how our members can best protect themselves through knowledge and prevention. To acknowledge the importance of the work of the Korean Cancer Society in addressing breast cancer in Korea, the SIWA Board has voted to donate 10 million Korean won to the organization. The Estée Lauder Companies have supported this organization for the past 15 years through their annual Breast Cancer Awareness campaign for disease education and prevention campaign activities. We would like to thank the Estée Lauder Companies for their support of SIWA’s Pink Ribbon event. Representatives from the Estée Lauder Companies were present at the Coffee Morning to provide pink ribbons and tote bags to all SIWA members and friends in attendance. This worldwide symbol was first introduced as a way to show support for women and their families impacted by breast cancer, by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1992. Please wear a touch of pink in October, to show your support! About The Estée Lauder BCA Campaign: The Estée Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign · The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign is a worldwide effort in 70+ countries with a mission to defeat breast cancer through education and medical research. · Since 1994, The BCA Campaign has raised more than $65 million globally to support research, education and medical services. · A majority of these donations—more than $50 million—have funded 200 medical research grants around the world through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF). Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in Korea - The Estée Lauder Companies Korea The Estée Lauder Companies Korea began the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in 2001 and it is 16th year in 2016. For the last 15 years, The Estée Lauder Companies has been committed in raising awareness on breast cancer among Koreans including public education campaign event, illumination, digital campaign activities and other endeavors working closely with the 1. Breast exams Korean Cancer Society and other partners in Korea. All women, even those with no family Starting in your 20s, get an annual checkup and breast exam by a doctor or nurse. history of the disease, can get breast cancer. An early diagnosis, when the cancer is small Also do regular self-exams and report any changes to your doctor. and has not spread, is an important factor to survival. 2. Mammograms Schedule an annual mammogram starting at age 40, or younger if you’re high-risk. 3. Healthy weight Extra weight means extra risk. Eat a fiber and antioxidant-rich diet. Second Annual Holiday Gift Drive Kicks Off 4. Stay active Thanks to many generous SIWA members last year, 25 students at the Yang Yang Keep fit with at least 45 minutes of physical activity each day. Children's Welfare Center received brand-new outerwear as holiday gifts. This is 5. Reduce risks another opportunity during the holiday season to put beautiful smiles on the faces of Limit your alcohol intake and do not smoke. these lovely students. Consult your doctor about the best plan of action for you.

- Anne Choe

October / November 2016 Discovery

Run by Pastor In-Suk Chun with the help from two teachers, Yang Yang Children's Welfare Center provides after-school activities, homework assistance and snacks for 30 elementary, middle and high school students from low-income and single parent households; a few of the students live with their grandparents. Mrs. Chun cooks dinner everyday for the children and Pastor Chun picks up and drops them off due to the lack of proper public transportation in this remote area.

Join us at Follow us @BCAcampaign and use #BCAstrength



Tracing the History of SIWA’s Bazaar 1970



“100 love-bead necklaces of the seed-type were sold at 100 won each (cost price 50 won…200 cakes sold easily….the subject of a raffle came up only the Friday night before the Bazaar when Mrs. Park Chung Hee donated a beautiful porcelain vase.”

“… Handmade pillows and cushions of various shapes and many colors … artificial flowers… Raffle 1st Prize: Two round-trip tickets to Hong Kong… 8th prize: 10 gallons of fuel oil”

“Eighteen wives of foreign ambassadors here will sell their unique products … at the Chosun Hotel. ‘What’s important is that we sell all of them … the money will be spent for Koreans who are in need of help,’ said Mrs. Rachel Ben-Yohanan, wife of the Israeli Ambassador to Korea and the association president.”

SIWA Bazaar Report (Dec. 1, 1970)

SIWA Bazaar Report (Nov. 16, 1971)

1982 1976

The Korea Herald (Nov. 4, 1976) “… We will use the proceeds from the bazaar for needy people,” said a member of the association. Mrs. Yi Pang-ja, widow of the last Yi Dynasty crown prince, sold holiday cards decorated with her own Oriental brush paintings… “


October / November 2016 Discovery

KBS World Radio (Seoul Scene with Matt Kelley, Nov. 18, 2009) “Everything from Persian carpets, traditional Korean furniture and Bolivian wool to Angolan coffee and Swiss cheese… it seemed that the crowd favorite were the one-a-day chocolate holiday calendars at the German booth. I picked up a couple of bottles of South African wine….. The upmarket crowd also had a chance to bid on some attractive hotel packages in Jeju, Bali and Bangkok in the silent auction section of the event… After initially veering towards the Indian curry, I opted instead for a tasty Lebanese falafel gyro.”



Asian Tribune (Nov. 30, 2013) “The Embassy of Sri Lanka occupied a festively decorated stall which showcased traditional Sri Lankan handicrafts and the renowned and flavourful Ceylon tea.”


Arirang News (Lee Soo-eun, Nov. 10, 2015) "This vase from Iran, painted in vivid blue, and these fancy leather boots from Portugal are just some of the things you found at today's bazaar. What's even better is that profits go to support a good cause."

SIWA Newsletter (May 1982) “BAZAAR ’82 had its premiere on May 4th with a press conference held during the freezing picnic in the park. By now, most of Korea has been informed about the 20 years of the Welfare Assistance that SIWA has produced for the Community and the willingness to let the show go on. The BAZAAR is SIWA’s only performance once a year to bring in the revenues to produce Welfare Assistance. We need each of you to ‘assist” SIWA in any way you can to make BAZAAR ’82 a real ‘show-stopper’!

The Korea Times (Nov. 3, 1974)


SIWA Discovery magazine “Bringing together 52 nations with a catalogue of products and knowledge worth of a UN summit, we were taken around the world while never leaving Seoul.”


Korea JoongAng Daily (Nov. 20, 2012) “A nesting doll, Cambodian teas and vintage watches made during the USSR era - all of these traditional items of countries worldwide filled the large-scale bazaar philanthropy held by the Seoul International Women’s Association (SIWA), in central Seoul. …roughly 4,000 people gathered to obtain the rare items. ‘I bought some peanuts and cookies, and this is special syrup from Holland,’ Ylona Janowitz, a Dutch woman who has lived in Korea for 13 years, said. ‘It’s my 13th time to visit this market.’… Some Korean teenagers and housewives flocked to American homemade cookies.”


The Bazaar is Back! The SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar is the largest international fundraising event in Seoul. Since its launch, the bazaar has helped raise more than 2 billion won for worthy South Korean charities. On November 14, embassies from more than 40 nations, women’s clubs, welfare organizations, vendor partners, local and international sponsors and countless volunteers will come together at the Lotte Hotel to sell unique products, foods and crafts from around the world. You can get a massage there, see cultural performances – or even win a valuable prize. Gabrielle Kim (SIWA Bazaar Manager), Amy Lee (VP Fundraising) and I invite you to SIWA’s 54th annual bazaar, the leading opportunity for the expat community and Korean nationals to meet and mingle, while shopping for a good cause. Volunteers from SIWA sold raffle tickets, guided visitors and helped the embassies and clubs with logistics. All of these efforts combined for one purpose and goal: to meet the needs of those less fortunate and to make Korea a better place for both native Koreans and foreign expats alike. We’re still looking for a few good volunteers to fill key roles this year to help make the bazaar even more of a success: · Sponsorship Team (need sponsorship leader) · Korea Table / VIP · Logistics · Raffles · Public Relations SIWA & Diplomatic Community Bazaar · Publications 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, November 14 · Volunteer Coordinator Lotte Hotel Seoul If you’d like to contribute or volunteer, 3F, Sapphire Ballroom please e-mail us at 30 Eulji-ro (Subway line 2, Euljiro-1, We look forward to Exit: 8, 1-minute walk) seeing you on November 14! #SIWAbazaar2016 Jung-gu, Seoul Ph. 82-2-771-1000 - Justesse Gomis Photos by Maverick Icon

Box Bridges the Past With the Future

October / November 2016 Discovery

Ann Robinson got lucky in her visit to the SIWA bazaar 40 years ago. The SIWA member was pregnant with her firstborn that fall and her mother-in-law was visiting from the states. On their way to Incheon Airport, the two decided to stop by the bazaar. As luck would have it, Robinson’s name was drawn in a raffle in which she won a lacquer jewelry box. Robinson and her husband left Korea in 1977 and the wooden box went with them. In fact, she still uses it today. Lacquerware inlaid with mother-of-pearl or najeonchilgi, is a time-honored Korean treasure dating from the Joseon dynasty and was long a symbol of wealth. “Najeon'' means mother-of-pearl, and `”chilgi'' refers to lacquerware. During the 1960 and ‘70s, lacquerware cabinets, chests and tables were popular items for newlyweds in East Asia. But only a few artisans of the craft remain. “I’ve asked my husband to find another box like that and we’ve looked,” Robinson said. “You don’t really see that type of lacquerware anymore. It’s a beautiful box.” To make lacquerware, artisans apply black or dark-red lacquer onto the wood, carve patterns or drawings on the surface and affix or encase mother of pearl or seashells. When Robinson and her husband, Steve, returned to Seoul for a second stint this year, thoughts of her beautiful box led her back to SIWA where she’s working on the sponsorship team for this year’s bazaar. Who knows? She may get lucky again. - Monica Williams




Giving Korean Adoptees a Voice By Monica Williams

October / November 2016 Discovery

Kaomi Goetz


Listen to the Adapted podcast:

Since the 1950s, an estimated 200,000 children have been adopted from Korea to more than 15 countries. In recent years, many of the adoptees have returned to Korea – from Minnesota, Michigan and Melbourne--hoping for a sense of connection to the country, their birth families or adoptees like themselves. But what happens after adoptees return to Korea to teach and learn about their homeland and themselves? American journalist and Korean-American adoptee Kaomi Goetz repatriated to Seoul this spring. She’s here for 10 months as a Fulbright senior scholar, interviewing adult international adoptees who have resettled in the country. Goetz is sharing their voices them a voice through her podcast, ADAPTED, and through stories on international media outlets. “You often hear about adoption from the perspective of the adoptive parent,” says Goetz. “What’s missing is the voice of the adoptee.”

Those voices have never been more important. The number of adoptions from Korea has tapered off in recent years as the country’s birth rate has declined and Korea has strengthened oversight but transnational adoption as a whole is booming. However, the conversation about adoption has mostly been steered by researchers, adoptive parents and adoption agencies. Adoptions first began after the Korean War when evangelists took in children from displaced families or those birthed out of mixedrace relationships with U.S. and UN servicemen. In the decades following, transnational adoptions soared as industrialization spurred divorces and single parenthood. By the mid-1980s, nearly 9,000 children a year were sent overseas and adoption became a big business. As Korean adoptees grow into adulthood, those who were born during the peak of adoptions in the 1970s and ’80s are increasingly journeying halfway around the world to a country where family lineage is powerful, many of them having developed an interest in Korea upon entering adulthood. “It’s a fertile topic right now,” says Goetz. With the changing media landscape, the development of world history and millennials coming of age, you are hearing more stories.” On prime-time television, there’s no shortage of highly emotional and touching reunions, where the adoptee joyously finds and reunites with a welcoming biological family. “Long Lost Family,” which has aired on British television since 2011, premiered in the United States in March. Sometimes, Goetz hears a made-for-TV tale. Often, the reality is much different, especially given that the chances of reunion in Korea are just 15 percent, she says. Although Goetz is an experienced radio broadcaster, she’s found that telling the stories of adoptees is surprisingly mentally taxing. It’s also rewarding. The experience of adoptees, she’s finding, are just as diverse as the adoptees themselves.


“Am I Korean? Do I wear my foreignness on my sleeve?” Goetz, who’s also studying Korean, says adoptees sometimes wonder. Goetz grew up part of a family of five in Minnesota, which has more Korean-American adoptees per capita than any other state in the nation. She’s the older sister of two brothers who weren’t adopted. Goetz knows little about her own adoption story. In 1971, her parents didn’t even have to travel to Korea. They picked up their infant daughter at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. After college, Goetz became an expat as an English teacher in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, where she stayed three years and studied Japanese. “I remember going to Hong Kong and seeing pictures of beautiful Asian women on billboards,” she says. “Up to that point, you felt like an outsider. It was powerful to be in a country where I could blend in.” For adoptees, feeling like an outsider, whether in Australia, Europe or Korea, is a common theme. Additionally, families back home may not share or understand their enthusiasm for Korea. That’s why a growing number of Korean expats are motivated by the idea of adoptees motivating and supporting each other. Goetz developed her podcast, in part, to help in building that community, even if they all aren’t all on the same side of the fence, for or against international adoption. She’d love it if more Koreans would listen to the podcast, which is supported by the Korean-American Educational Commission. More so, “I’d like it if adoptees, many of whom have felt isolated for decades, empower and inspire each other, meet and find community,” Photos courtesy of Kaomi Goetz she says.

October / November 2016 Discovery

In Korea, international adoptees are teaching, starting businesses, living permanently or just here to shop for hanbok and enjoy baseball games on “homeland tours” sponsored by the Korean government. Aided by a renewable visa that allows them to live and work, some repatriates are searching for their birth families while others are just looking to soak up a bit of the culture. According to the government, some 300 to 500 expat adoptees are currently living in Korea. “Their motivations for being here are different. For some, the focus could be on finding siblings,” Goetz says. Although the majority of Korean adoptees grew up to live happy and productive lives, others did not. Alicia Soon, 33, has been in Korea for five years. She struggled growing up within her Mennonite family in rural, small-town Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, her story includes abuse and neglect. Goetz also interviewed Korean adoptee Hana Crisp, 32, of Melbourne, Australia, and her half-brother Subin Kim, 29, who found each other and established a bond after a lifetime apart. Many of the Korean children adopted internationally grew up in white, upper middle-class homes where they may or may not have felt Asian. Even within happy homes, “a lot of adoptees struggle with identity growing up,” Goetz says. If adoptees face an identity crisis in their adopted countries, they oftentimes face challenges to resettle in Korea. While their physical appearance lets them fit in, they aren’t fluent in the language and are sometimes unfamiliar with customs and culture.


HOMECOMING October / November 2016 Discovery


What it Means to be a Seoul Sister It is funny how things can evolve so quickly; an idea turns into something special from a few words or kind thoughts. An incredible thing happened recently, which I feel I should share. A friend posted a memory on her Facebook timeline that stated: “I did meet lovely women on this journey in expat life!! Thank you, Facebook for some throwbacks now and then to remind me!!! Wish to see all one more time! Xx.” Someone else suggested that we should catch up, a minireunion for those from the photo. That is where it all began, a click of a button and a new Facebook group is now online. A mention of “please add who I may have forgotten” became 1,300 members in just a few days. How incredible that so many women can relate to themselves as a Seoul Sister, time spent in South Korea that left you with a group of women that have a special connection. I am not sure why spending time in Seoul is so unique but everybody who has ever lived there holds it close to her heart. It made me sit back and reflect on what it was that has created this bond. What qualifies you as a Seoul Sister? Let me try and break it down: It is a particular type of person that says “yes” to this assignment, in the first place. South Korean weather can be brutally cold in the winter, but the women you meet are warm and welcoming from the get- go! Whether you lived in leafy Seungbuk-dong, bustling Itaewon or somewhere in between, you are a Seoul Sister. During your time there you have tasted soju and learned very quickly that kimchi was the staple of every meal.

by Paula Barreca Barnes

You may have had one or two sessions singing your dignity away in a noraebang while your husband is drinking his dignity away at a Korean barbecue restaurant with 10 colleagues. It is the funny times you have in a country rich in tradition and culture. Your best friends are a mix of nationalities and a combination of ages, you have belonged to an association such as ANZA (Australian and New Zealand Association) and attended the SIWA Bazaar. I flew down to Singapore recently to say (a sorrowful) goodbye to one of my fellow Seoul Sisters, who is repatriating to Australia. How could I pass up a night out with a group of Singaporean Seoul sisters (Seoul sisters who reside in Singapore)? Where else to eat but to Vatos Urban Tacos, a strange mix of Korean and Mexican? So many margaritas were drunk, many funny stories told and of course the mention of the next reunion to be had. To say that I am blessed to be part of the Seoul Sisters is an understatement. These girls will be with me forever, thanks to Facebook and social media. I am looking forward to the next reunion already. Former SIWA member Paula Barreca Barnes is an Australianborn, dual-passport owning expatriate who lives with her family in Malaysia.

SIWA’s Photo Club captured the theme of “coming home” in a recent friendly photo challenge. What does “homecoming” mean to you? Wine and a good book? Or Mom’s home cooking? The SIWA Photo Club is open to members who desire a more artistic and structured approach to creating photographs. Club activities consist of an annual exhibition, technique workshop, critiques of each other’s works, gallery tours and photo shoots. Possession of a camera is prerequisite and all levels of expertise are welcome. The club meets every first Thursday of the month and is free and open to all SIWA members. To join, email

“This is a picture of Bella, my family's Brittany spaniel. I imagine her sitting on the couch, where she is not allowed, waiting for me to come home.” -- Alexa Dodson

“Home is where I relax. A good book, hot bath, and a glass of wine make me feel like I'm at a spa.” -- Courtney Snede

“The first two photos are about returning home at the end of a day's work! The other one is about home. For me, home is a safe cozy space and I love lamps.” -- Emma Duke

“Home is a place where I can rest after a hectic day in the city and relax with a book or look at the mesmerising lights behind the window.” -- Galiya Sharapova

October / November 2016 Discovery

“This is the view from my apar tment in Uijeongbu. On the right you can see Dobongsan which is one of the most popular mountains at Bukhansan National Park. I love this city because I am only 10 minutes from the closest trail head.” -- Doria Garms-Sotelo


Home Sweet Home




By Veronica O’Connor

Since our arrival in Seoul nearly two years ago, my family and I have explored the city’s “must visit” sites as well as its lesser-known corners. But with summertime temperatures soaring to historic levels and a desire to discover new sights within an easy drive from the city, we packed up the car and headed out of town. Road trip! Our destination? Ganghwa Island. Located in the very northwest corner of Korea, the island is situated just north of Incheon Airport, where the Han River meets the Yellow Sea, and is very close to North Korea. In a dayand-a-half, we traveled all around the island.

SATURDAY Gwangseongbo Fortress Our first stop was Gwangseongbo Fortress, the site of several fierce battles throughout its long history. One of these battles, in 1871, marked the arrival of Americans in Korea. The fortress grounds are a lovely mix of nature, history and architecture, perfect to kick-off our day of exploration.

October / November 2016 Discovery

From Gwangseongbo, we made our way across the island to the picturesque fishing village of Oepo. The slow pace of life was a refreshing change from the hustle-and-bustle of Seoul. From there, it was a quick ferry ride to neighboring Seokmodo Island, where our next site awaited.


Bomunsa Temple Legend has it that this colorful temple was originally constructed during the reign of Queen Seondeok during the Silla Era (635). Despite some nice breezes, we were soaked by the time we made it the 150 yards up the hill. At the top, a monk quickly raised our spirits with his sonorous chants in a grotto. After walking around the beautiful grounds, we headed back down the hill and enjoyed a tasty Korean meal at one of the many restaurants on offer.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Recharged, we headed back to Ganghwa Island to see a couple more sites. First, the UNESCO Heritage dolmen (stone graves or tombs), which dates from the 7th to 3rd century BCE. Fun fact for your next cocktail party: Korea has 40 percent of the world’s dolmen.

Next, we drove up to the Ganghwa Peace Observatory, with views into North Korea. Using the coin-operated binocular lenses dotted around the observatory, we peered into the cloistered country just across the Han River, and shared wishes for a united Korea. There is an exhibition on the history of the Korean War, film screenings and a small store selling drinks and other refreshments.


Ganghwa Peace Observatory

Time to Relax By late afternoon, our attention turned towards to a vital subject: dinner! Hungry and tired, but invigorated from the day, we headed to a local supermarket to pick up ingredients to BBQ at “Calla House,” our centrally located accommodation for the night. Our friendly Englishspeaking hosts, Raphael and Caritas, welcomed us, showed us to our comfortable cottage, and gave us a tour of their sizeable vegetable garden (even offering us peppers and eggplant for our BBQ). They even have a small pool perfect for small children – or tired feet of any age. Within minutes, we felt right at home and enjoyed an evening relaxing in the garden and even star-gazing after sunset.

SUNDAY Into the Woods We woke up early to take on one of the many hikes available on Ganghwa Island. We chose Manisan, a mountain overlooking the entire island and the West Sea. It was a nice walk through a forest. The view from the top, about 500 meters above the sea, was definitely worth the effort. Along the coast, the mountains seem to slide straight to the sea. Where they don’t, rice fields fill in the gaps. This was a postcard-perfect type of hike. At the summit, the notable Chamseongdan Altar was closed for renovations. This is where Tangun, the founder of Korea in 2333 BCE, is said to have offered sacrifices to the heavens. There is documented history at this site from at least the 1200s.

Veronica O'Connor is a communications professional from the United States and a proud SIWA member since 2015.

If you go … Gwangseongbo Fortress, 27, Haeandong-ro 466beon-gil, Bureun-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon Bomunsa Temple, 44, Samsannam-ro 828beon-gil, Samsan-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon Ganghwa Dolmen Site (UNESCO World Heritage), 317, Bugeun-ri, Hajeom-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon Ganghwa Peace Observatory, 797, Jeonmangdae-ro, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon Manisan Mountain, Heungwang-ri, Hwado-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon Callas House/”Tree House of Ganghwa”), Hajeom-myeon, Ganghwa-gun, Incheon

October / November 2016 Discovery

Back to the City Back at the base of the mountain, we headed to a convenience shop – helpfully located alongside the parking lot – for some cold drinks and snacks. Within a couple of hours, we were back in the big city – refreshed, invigorated and pleased to have seen a very beautiful part of Korea so close to home.


HOMECOMING October / November 2016 Discovery


Charity Provides a Second Home for Busan’s Needy Children By Neeti Virmani

I was glad to see that they have picnics also for children’s recreation. However, I was taken aback by one story. One child had come to school on the weekend to stay there, because his father is an alcoholic who had beat him on various occasions. Even today, it gives me goosebumps to even think of such situations and how the great work of certain people is helping create a high positive impact on mankind. Most of the parents of the children work outside the home. In homes where there have been abusive parents, the school has reported them. For example, in one case, the situation was reported and the father was required to attend counseling. The parents and teacher meet formally twice a year. Otherwise, health and psychological reports are given informally to the parents regularly. I was amazed to see the kind of infrastructure that is provided to make the children feel like they have a second home. The facility includes three classrooms for studying and recreation, one dining room with hygienic dispenser for oral healthcare. There are dashboards where the children put up charts on which they express their feelings about themselves, family and friends. They have a first-aid facility in the school but the nuns are trained to provide medical assistance. Funding comes largely from the government, private donations or through the church. Since the neighborhood is in a low-income area, the church’s income also is low. All receipts are given to the government. As an institution they are currently running hand-to-mouth. The rent is paid by the city government. Salaries are paid by the city, though they are very low (KRW 5,000 to 6,000 per hour per teacher). Variable expenses are about 4,000 won per day per child. Fixed maintenance expense are 400,000 won and additional expenses are 500,000 won. All expenses are recorded and documented by the school. It was such an enlightening experience for me to see that all of the work was being managed by only one part-time teacher and two other permanent senior citizen nuns who double up for the roles of teacher, first-aid attendant and therapist. The teachers have been working for in the school for more than two years, thereby maintaining continuity. After the site visit, SIWA supported them with KRW 6 million, which helped them fund an educational trip for 15 children and five teachers to Jeju Island and a laundry machine at the study room. This is the first time the school has been funded by an expat organization. The site visit gave me a lot of in-depth understanding of the social issues that exist in Korea and the fantastic work that is being done by the community to support such issues. But above all, it left me with a feeling of gratitude that I’ve been equipped with all the basic needs of life, which many of us tend to take for granted. If you’re interested in volunteering, email Neeti Virmani has 15 years’ experience in senior leadership roles with leading Indian brands in telecom, FMCG, media & entertainment. Chair of SIWA’s Welfare Committee, she moved to Korea with her husband in September 2015.

They say that children are a gift from God to mankind. Well, that’s exactly the feeling that came to mind when I performed my first site visit, as part of SIWA’s Welfare Committee, to The Pigeon Study Room in Busan, along with Anne Choe, Barbara Bai and Milly Kim. The Pigeon Study Room, which was started in 1993, is located in a quaint apartment in a residential area. A nun in Seoul who previously lived in Busan referred this place to SIWA. The school is owned by The Catholic Order. The school runs an after-school program, which includes homework completion and recreation for schoolchildren from grade 1 through high school. It manages 34 children, including one special-needs child: 29 boys and five girls. The school opens at 10 a.m. Monday to Friday and the children arrive at 1 p.m. after school and stay until 9 p.m. The program follows a fixed curriculum, with reading and writing every Monday. From 1 until 9, they complete homework and arts and crafts. On weekends, the children often come to stay at the school.

Barbara Bai Anne Choe Sunghwa Han Choi Katie Chung Soon Hyun Clara Jong Lydia Koh Amy Lee Bockhee Lee Julie Shim Neeti Virmani

October / November 2016 Discovery

Welfare Committee members


SIWA has contributed to dozens of charities over the years



Anna's House: A Haven for the Marginalized

By Monica Park

Anna’s House, a charity in Seongnam, Gyeonggi province, welcomes the homeless, elderly, jobless and street children. The center also hosts an association for people with dyslexia. Since 1998, the organization has been a haven for the marginalized. There are three ways you can serve: talent support, counseling as a native English speaker, or by donating goods or money. The soup kitchen serves about 400 meals a day. Last year, they distributed more than 83,000 dinners to homeless adults. The center also had 1,136 patients and provided them dentistry, psychiatric or oiental medical assistance. It also provided employment and legal counseling and distributed clothes, and provided a place to wash clothes or just shower.

October / November 2016 Discovery

At the home for adolescent male runaways, there are two programs. One is short-term and the other is long-term. Father Vincenzo is looking for a native English speaker to work short term at the shelter once a week from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Anna’s House is an amazing place. There are so many people serving others in the most selfless ways. Father Vincenzo Bordo, who started the charity, is also an incredible force. I was really struck by his humanity and I was also happy to do charity work. I first went to Anna’s House to volunteer work last year with a group of Italian friends. Since then, I have been happy to work at Anna’s House alongside SIWA members Mi Kyung Yu, Kaylin Kyung Lee, Sonia Vanderaa and Andrea Leideck, preparing food for the homeless. Shuda Tumbe teaches at the Dyslexia Center twice a week. Though giving, I understand the point of life, which is sharing ourselves with others. After serving at Anna’s House, I found myself a bit different and more openhearted. Every time we go, I experience this treasure that we have with us through everyday living. The next SIWA meetings at Anna's House will be Oct. 27, Nov. 10 and Dec. 8. The charity work starts at 1 p.m. and finishes at approximately 4 p.m.. To get there, we can meet at Moran Station (Line 8 or Bundang Line), Exit 4 at 11:45 PM to have lunch and go together to Anna’s House, which is a five-minute walk from the station. You can also donate money to the charity through two accounts in its name: Woori Bank(1005-601-037069), Shinhan Bank (100-024-061995) or Kookmin Bank (275401-04- 093261) or via PayPal. Monica Park, a SIWA member since 2010, is a native of Korea. She worked for 30 years for KT Corporation (formerly Korea Telecom) before taking an early retirement.


October / November 2016 Discovery


SIWA ACTIVITIES October / November 2016 Discovery


Home Cooking: A Taste of Turkmenistan Tazegul Mammetalyyeva learned how to make kutia, a Ukrainian rice puddinglike dish last year Samsa has been made for centuries in Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries. Preparation is a simple but somewhat lengthy process. While the dough bakes for only 20 minutes, prep time is 40 minutes, not including the 90 minutes that the dough is refrigerated. As with most Central Asian food, samsas are best washed down with hot green tea, which is served just about everywhere in the country. “It’s not my mother’s dumpling,” Mammetalyyeva said, with a smile. “But I think it is good.” Born in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, Mammetalyyeva is a trained researcher in the field of law. Since 2015, she has served as the Executive Secretary of Ambassadors Spouses Association in Seoul (ASAS). Since coming to Korea with her husband and two children in 2014, Mammetaltyeva, who often goes by “Gulia,” often opens their home to share the culture of the most unexplored of Central Asian’s ‘stans, a fascinating country of 5 million residents. The nation, more than 70 percent occupied by the Karakum Desert, has the second lowest at SIWA’s Ukrainian International Culinary Exchange (ICE). This year, Mammetalyyeva, the wife of the Turkmen Ambassador to Korea, returned the favor. She opened the doors of the couple’s home to SIWA members and showed them how to make samsa, a traditional bread or pastry eaten daily across her home country as part of SIWA’s August ICE. SIWA members from eight countries rolled up their sleeves and rolled out balls of dough on Mammetalyyeva’s kitchen table to fill and fold their samsas with beef, onions and pumpkin. Samsa, which resembles a dumpling, is prepared across Turkmenistan with various fillings such as meat or herbs and baked in a tamdyr, or clay oven. The tamdyr, where bread is traditionally baked, is thought to be the most sacred place in a Turkmen house, and bread has always been revered as a charm that protects the family. Mammetalyyeva, who was dressed in traditional purple silk shift , said that if you don’t happen to have a tamdyr, you can bake samsas in a gas or electric oven or on electric plates. population density (after Kazakhstan) in former Soviet Central Asia. Because of visa restrictions, Turkmenistan attracts just 100,000 tourists a year –although more visitors are expected next year for the Asian Indoor Games--but Turkmen hospitality has long been the stuff of legends. A month before the culinary exchange, Mammetalyyeva also shared her love for Turkmenistan with SIWA members in her home, giving them a glimpse of the treasures of her country’s sleepy desert cities along the Great Silk Road and its beautiful beaches on the Caspian Sea via a Cultural Connection.

By Monica Williams

Besides arresting carpets and scrumptious samsas, what else is there to know about Turkmenistan? For starters, in 2013, Guinness World Records listed Ashgabat as having the greatest number of white marble buildings — estimated at more than 540. The desert nation also has the largest indoor Ferris wheel. At the August ICE, a SIWA member asked if she could demonstrate a traditional dance after watching Turkmen dancers in a video. “No, no,” Mammetalyyeva politely declined with laughter. “That’s another program.” SIWA would like to thank Tazegul Mammetalyyeva for donating all of the fees from the program to our Welfare fund.

About Turkmenistan Population: 5.3 million Capital: Ashgabat, 574,000 Area: 488,100 sq. km (188,456 sq. miles). Slightly larger than the state of California and smaller than Spain Major languages: Turkmen, Russian Major religions: Islam, Eastern Orthodox Literacy: 98% Life expectancy: 61 years (men), 69 years (women) Currency: Turkmen manat

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. 2. Warm up the water and butter on the stove or in a microwave. Add salt and stir. 3. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is of a smooth consistency. Cover it in a bowl with wrap and let it stand for 15 minutes, and then let it cool down in the refrigerator for 90 minutes. 4. In a large bowl, mix meat and onions and throw in a pinch or two of pepper. 5. Take the prepared dough, cut into small pieces and form a ball. Roll out the ball until it’s thin and flat (about 3-5 mm). Brush it with melted butter. Depending on how you want to shape your samsa, form some squares (usually about 5 cm. square). 6. Put a scoop of the meat filling inside each square and then fold it over into a triangle and pinch the sides shut, as you would a traditional dumpling. 7. Cover baking tray with aluminum foil. Place the samsa on the tray. Crack the egg and brush on top. 8. Place in the oven; increase the temperature to 200 and bake for about 10 -15 minutes on one side; turn and bake for another 10 minutes.

Turkmen samsa contain various fillings —from pumpkin to vegetable to beef. It is often baked in a tamdyr, a Turkmen clay oven used to prepare bread and other delicious meals made from flour such as samsa. The traditional meat version contains beef and onion. Prep time: 40 minutes (plus 90 minutes to refrigerate) Cook time: 25 minutes Ingredients · 450 ml. hot water · 150 grams of butter · 1 teaspoon salt · 600 grams (6 cups) of flour (can be reduced or increased to achieve desired consistency) · 500 grams of ground beef filet or ground beef, chopped (a pumpkin, peeled and grated can be substituted for the meat) · 3 onions, diced · 1 teaspoon black pepper · ½ teaspoon red pepper · 1 teaspoon coriander · 1 large egg


Turkmen samsa

October / November 2016 Discovery



SIWA Tours and Events Baekje Kingdom Sites in Gongju October 14, 2016 7:30 am - 8:00 pm

October / November 2016 Discovery

This day trip included visits to historic sites of the Baekje Kingdom in Gongju and the Magok-sa, Buddhist temple nearby. These sites in Chungcheongnam province are a 2-hour bus ride from Seoul. Today’s Gongju city was the lWocation of Ungjin, the ancient Baeke capital city from 475 – 538 AD. Here we walked along the Gongsanseong (공산산성), a castle fortress, visited the Songsan-ni Gobungun (송산리 고분군), a royal tomb complex, and the Gongju National Museum (국 립공주 박물관). The fortress and tomb complex are two of eight UNESCO World Heritage sites designated in 2015 to represent the latter period of the Baekje Kingdom. The Tomb of King Muryeong was a highlight; amazingly, it was undisturbed for 14 centuries until discovered accidentally in 1971. The museum houses gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood artifacts primarily found in the Muryeong Tomb. These artifacts provide insight to 6th-century Korean life and some exquisite pieces represent the high craftsmanship of the Baekje period. The Baekje Kingdom (18BC -660 AD) was one of the “Three Kingdoms of Korea” and controlled the most of the southwestern section of the Korean peninsula at its peak. The Silla Kingdom was to the east and Goguryeo Kingdom to the north. The Baekje Kingdom was also at the crossroads between China and Japan kingdoms. The latter Baekje period is significant in Korean and world histories because significant technological, religious (Buddhist), cultural and artistic exchanges occurred between the ancient East Asian kingdoms in Korea, China and Japan. Baekje kings paid tribute to Chinese dynasties and sent envoys to collect cultural goods, technologies, and to study Buddhism, the Chinese written language, and architecture. The Baekje also established relations with the Japanese and shared cultural and technological knowledge. It was an illustrious era of cultural exchange. But, Silla aggressions mounted and Baekje called upon Japan for military support while some Baekje nobility and royalty sought to avoid the Silla takeover by emigrating to Japan. The Baekje Kingdom endedwith a battle in 663 when the Silla, in alliance with the Tang Dynasty, attacked and defeated the Baekje who had Japanese military support. Some Baekje escaped to Goguryeo. Ultimately, the Baekje Kingdom became part of the Unified Silla (676-935), then Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392-1910). Mogaksa Temple is a beautifully situated monastery with five nationally registered treasures. Depending on the legend, the temple was established during the Unified Silla dynasty in either 642 or 847 AD. The complex is in such an isolated mountain region that it survived destruction during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and the more recent Korean War. A fire destroyed most of the structures so most buildings date to reconstruction in 1651. We will take a walk through the complex to view some of the highlights, including a lovely bridge, a temple with 1,000 Buddha statues, a famous Chinese juniper tree in the courtyard, the main temple hall, and an unusual fivestory pagoda with Lamanist (eg.Tibetan)-styled elements. The Senior Public Diplomacy Group of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is generously offered this cultural experience to SIWA at no cost to participants. The trip included bus transportation, lunch, drinks and snacks. It was a wonderful opportunity for SIWA members to travel outside of Seoul, visit historical Baekje Kingdom sites, and enjoy the fall scenery. As a way to give back to Korea, the SIWA participation fee will be contributed to the SIWA Welfare Fund.


Cost: For SIWA Welfare Fund: Members: W5,000. Non-Members: W15,000. Tour coordinator: Lissa Miner, Tour leader: Mr. Ha-kyung Choi, who is a member of The Senior Public Diplomacy Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.K. and also a member of The Korea Heritage Society. Mr. Choi graduated from Seoul National University and lived many years in Great Britain, Germany, India and the United States. An experienced tour guide since his retirement, he now enjoys sharing his insight into Korean life, culture and heritage.

Interesting Historical Sites near Old Seoul Station 9:00 am - 12:00 pm October 21, 2016 This walking tour visited four fascinating sites of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty and 20th-century history: • Sohn Kee-chung Park with its Memorial Hall for Korea’s most famous athlete and the infamous “Hitler Tree” – our guide will tell the whole amazing story of tragic 1936 and triumphant 1992. • Yakhyeon Cathedral is actually the first major Catholic Church built in Seoul, pre-dating the more imposing and magnificent Myeong-dong Cathedral, with beautiful and interesting aspects. • Soseo-mun Park is a nice little oasis in the middle of urban madness, containing a few interesting relics from being the site of the now vanished “Little West Gate” in the city wall, and a major shrine for many 19thcentury Catholic martyrs. Pope John Paul II even visited this site. • Seoul Railway Station was constructed in 1925 as one of the most prominent and meaningful symbolic structures of the new Japanese imperial colonial rule over Korea.


____________________________ Interesting Historical Sites near Old Seoul Station It is generally considered the greatest architectural masterpiece remaining from those days. Closed for a decade as a new 21st-century station (with KTX and shopping mall) the capital city – extensively urbanized all during the 20th century, this largest of the remaining traditional markets in Korea has become a tourist attraction in its own right. The gate itself became a leading symbol of the traditional legacy of Seoul, and was designated as National Treasure #1. Its wooden superstructure was tragically burned a decade ago, however, but has been rebuilt by traditional methods, and now reopened to the public. The Hyochang Park of Heroes October 24, 2016 9:30 am - 12:30 pm Meeting Point: near Hyochang Park station (#627) This will be an interesting walking tour to a little-visited but historically important park right in central Seoul. It contains many sites related to Korea’s struggle for its Independence from Japanese Colonial rule, and the messy aftermath of Liberation (1945-48). It features the tomb and museum of “Baekbeom” Kim Gu (1876-1949), one of the most important figures of 20th-century Korea, and still politically relevant. If you live in Korea and want to understand the deeper social currents, you really should know about him. He was a hero-leader of the Donghak Peasants Rebellion in 1894 (at 18 years old!) and then was the President of Korea’s Government-inExile (China); and the one who probably should have been the first President of the Republic of Korea. He led the populist Anti-Trusteeship Movement after his triumphant return in the fall of 1945, after Korea’s Liberation by the American defeat of Japan in WWII, and refused to give up on the goal of a not-divided Korea. There is also the Uiyeol-sa Shrine, in which portraits of seven top leaders and resistance-martyrs of the post-1919 Korean Independence Movement are enshrined in the Neo-Confucian style, and tombs of the patriotic martyrs. On the other side of this pleasant Park, there is a big Statue of Great Buddhist Master Wonhyo and your guide will tell a few colorful tales about this fascinating enlightened saint.

The Tours Committee offers opportunities for SIWA members, their families, and non-members to participate in organized experiences in Seoul and Korea. Through these cultural, artistic and recreational tours, participants can learn about Korea, and make and deepen friendships. Tour Coordinators are all SIWA-member volunteers. To join the committee, please contact For upcoming tours, go to Advance registration is required.

• Seal Carving Class • Improv Comedy Halloween Special • Hiking Kalbawi Rock • Western Seongbuk-Dong

October / November 2016 Discovery

Please join us for this opportunity to see and learn some fundamental aspects of early-20th-century Korean history. Participants: Minimum 10 – Maximum 20 Cost: Guide Fee: Members W15,000. Non-Members W25,000. Optional lunch afterward paid separately. Tour coordinator: Patricia Tiedemann, More SIWA tours Tour leader: Prof. David A. Mason, an American who has been in Seoul since 1985. He is a specialist on the • Choongwangdang Museum of Korean Medicine history of this nation's traditional culture and has authored many books and articles. He is a Professor of • Ansan Hike Korean Cultural Tourism at Sejong University. • Korean Skin Care for Beginners



Past Interest Group Gatherings

International Culinary Exchange: Royal Court Cuisine

Korean-English Conversation

Moms and Tots

Community Service: Anna’s House

Photo Club

Book Club

October / November 2016 Discovery

Cultural Connection: Turkmenistan


International Culinary Exchange: Royal Court Cuisine

Working Women’s Network



CALENDAR October 29 Moms and Tots Harvest Market Day 2016 with Halloween Costume Contest SIWA parents and kids, let’s go to the annual Harvest Market Day with a Halloween costume contest. Dress up your little one and join us. There will be a silent auction, vendors, kids’ crafts, food and more. Have a look at the photos from the SIWA 2015 event.

For more details on these and many other events, please visit our website:

November 8 Korean-English Conversation: Traditional Houses If you would like to practice speaking Korean or English, please join our conversation group. We will teach and encourage each other through our conversations. Anyone who is willing to practice Korean and English is welcome.

November 11 Book Club: “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The club meets once a month to discuss a book chosen by the group, an interesting mix of women from various backgrounds. The result is a deeper understanding of the book and different cultures. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and short-story writer was awarded the MacArthur Genius grant in 2008.

November 17 Transition Group Lunch Every change in our lives results in challenging our old ways, going through chaos and finally adopting new ways. SIWA Transition Group is a forum for members to support each other in making sense of their life transitions. Core discussion topics include personal growth, crossing cultures, third culture kids (TCK) and family support.

November 28 Welfare Committee Meeting: Are you interested in a unique opportunity to help provide direct assistance to some of the underprivileged members and communities in Korea? SIWA’s Welfare Committee offers members a great way to contribute their background and perspectives in supporting local charity organizations.

November 14 SIWA & Diplomatic Community Bazaar The Bazaar is the largest international fundraising event in Seoul. Embassies from more than 40 nations, women’s clubs, welfare organizations, vendors and countless volunteers come together to sell unique products, foods and craft from around the world.

October / November 2016 Discovery



Get smart with Korean vocabulary Learning begins at home. And what better place to learn a language than by naming the things around you!

Rug 깔개 kkalgae

Bookcase 책장 chaegjang Flower vase 꽃병 kkochbyeong

Sink 싱크대 singkeudae

October / November 2016 Discovery

Refrigerator 냉장고 naengjang-go

Air conditioner 에어컨 ae-o-kon

Sofa 소파 sopa

Microwave 전자렌지 jeonja-reinji

Dining table 식탁 sigtag

Wardrobe 옷장 ot-jang

Living room 거실 geosil

Kitchen 부엌 bueok

Bedroom 침실 chimsil

Bed 침대 chimdae

Curtains 커튼 keoteun

Compiled by by Sandhya Ramabadran Compiled Proud SIWA member since 2015 & an eager learner of Korean Sandhya Ramabadran Proud SIWA member since 2015 & an eager learner of 26 Korean

Dealing With the Challenges of Reverse Culture Shock

By Gretchen Hill and Noreen Jaden


It’s Good to Be Home… or is it? One of the biggest challenges for people who live abroad is the difficulty in re-adapting to their “home” country whether they are visiting are moving back permanently. They go through changes like re-examining priorities, values and what they think of themselves and their homeland. The “reverse culture shock” may be more difficult than the “culture shock” they first felt when moving abroad. Reverse culture shock can differ from person to person. Upon returning home, you may find things different from how you left them. From language adjustments to depression to a simple trip to the supermarket, reverse culture shock can hit you in more ways than you might expect. Often there are two elements that characterize the re-entry process: 1. An idealized view of home 2. The expectation of total familiarity (that nothing at home has changed while you may have been away) Often people expect to be able to pick up where they left off. Problems arise when reality doesn’t meet expectations. Home is not what you envisioned, and things may have changed. Typically, the better integrated you became to your host country, the harder it is to readjust during re-entry. This is where reverse culture shock (sometimes called re-entry shock) comes into play. These are some common symptoms to look out for: A sense of not belonging to your home culture Frustration of adjusting to a different pace of life in your homeland ● The sense that friends, family or colleagues are not interested in discussing your experience ● Friends made abroad are sorely missed, as the culture and way of life in the host country ● ●

Noreen Jaden, a SIWA member for more than a decade, is CEO of Adaptable Human Solutions in Seoul and a psychologist from Canada. Dr. Gretchen Hill is a licensed psychologist in the United States.

October / November 2016 Discovery

Re-entry adjustment is common but there are ways to prepare for it before returning home. The skills you need to adjust abroad will be useful to you on your re-entry to your culture: ● Try to keep up-to-date with friends and family and keep track of local and national news so you do not feel lost when you return home. ● Recognize that you have changed at a personal level and that people at home are growing and changing too. ● Keep your cultural sensitivity. Observe your own culture the same way you observed the host country. Consider what you like about your homeland and what you want to keep from the culture you experienced abroad ● Stay positive and active. There will be some disappointments but work through them with the same enthusiasm you brought overseas. ● Try to explain to friends and family that it is a normal phase in any expat’s journey to readjust. Allow time for the re-entry process and keep your expectations low. It may take a long time to feel at home again, but if you use the extra patience you developed while living abroad, you can help to ease the transition.



2016 10 11 SIWA Discovery  

In this issue, we look at the idea of 'homecoming' and what it means to people living in their home country, or finding themselves living in...

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